Todd Stroger a no-show among candidates seeking top ballot spot

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Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios wheels in his candidate petitions Monday morning as he filed to run for re-election. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

He wants to unseat Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and get his old job back.

But Todd Stroger was not one of the 75 office seekers who made sure they were in line Monday morning before Cook County Clerk David Orr began accepting nominating petitions at 9 a.m. — a requirement for candidates who want their names to appear on top of their opponents on the ballot.

Stroger’s potential opponent, current Cook Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, was there and filed her petitions.

Stroger could not be reached for comment Monday morning. Early last week, he had announced he would run. It’s not clear if he’s collected the 8,326 signatures required to secure a spot on the March 20 primary ballot.

Those who were in line when Orr began accepting petitions at 9 a.m. were automatically guaranteed a shot at the top ballot spot.

If multiple candidates seeking the top ballot spot for the same office were in line before 9 a.m., a lottery will decide who gets the prize.

Long-held beliefs, backed by some research, maintain that the candidate at the top of the ballot — usually seen first as voters peruse their choices — fares better.

Similar thinking applies for the candidate whose name appears last on the ballot — hopefully, the thinking goes, they are leaving an impression.

Gone are the days when a candidate’s physical spot in line was all important, a process that led to absurdly early arrivals.

But Cook County Commissioners Dennis Deer and Stanley Moore showed up extra early anyway to make sure they were numbers one (Deer) and two (Moore) in the line as a memorial of sorts.

“We’re honoring the tradition of our fallen comrade Robert Steele,” Deer said of their former colleague who died in June.

Maria Moreno, 36, took her position in line just after 9 a.m., forgoing the rush to secure a top ballot spot.

For Moreno, who works as secretary to Larry Dominick, and is seeking a Republican committeeman spot, it was not a big deal.

“I don’t have an opponent,” she said.

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